#1 in the Nation Thanks to Innovation – Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

Hey there! I’m Todd with Utah schools for the Deaf and the Blind, we serve more than 1,800 kids ages 0 to 22 throughout the state of Utah. We are excited to learn and share innovative practices and tools that help us provide a responsive, caring and innovative environment for our students. Let’s meet some of our administrators, teachers and students and learn about why we do what we do! Hi I’m Superintendent Coleman at USDB There is not an innovation we won’t try … We do everything from building our facilities in a customized way to training our teachers using technology and giving the kids real-world learning experiences! There are some fantastic design elements here in this building, the first thing I like to point out to people is what we call “Deaf Space” Deaf space means a place that’s designed with people in mind who can’t hear so this facility was built with a lot of glass … you can see into the gym, you can see into the boardroom, you can see from the administrative area to the classrooms. You can see almost anything … so people can communicate across the entire building using sign language. That visual communication is available instantly for us. Part of the way that we do some innovations is our STEM activities for our kids who are blind and visually impaired … actually when you think about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it’s all about accessibility … hands-on experience that really brings the world to their fingertips. No one can say that our kids can’t do this … They do do it! My favorite part of this school is how we’re always learning how to do things that normal people usually do without thinking about it and then we can just do anything! So taking our kids to study abroad programs such as Australia and Ireland allowed the kids to use their own tools to be successful. Blind kids set loose in Sydney Australia … quite an adventure! So while we were in Australia our teachers … they didn’t baby us. They gave us instructions and directions on where to go out how to navigate the city but they didn’t show us. Like we didn’t follow them around … they followed us around and you know we told the guys, “You know you guys … We can do this, we can do anything!” For our study abroad trips … our students met deaf entrepreneurs and they realized they can do anything! So I met a lot of deaf business owners there (Italy) … and I saw what they can do and that gave me inspiration that I can own my own business! So one of my goals is to be a chef, and I want to set up my own restaurant … and that really inspired me! As I went to Italy when I met him, he really inspired me and he changed my thought process. He changed my perspective that, oh I can do it! I can go ahead and do whatever I want. I am going to college now and I’m taking classes just because I met that man! There’s a reason we have the highest graduation rate in the country here at USDB and it’s because our faculty, our staff and our learners are all willing to be open-minded and do whatever it takes … Innovation really works!

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